Many Muslim societies are in the throes of tumultuous political transitions, and common to all has been heightened debate over the place of sharia law in modern politics and ethical life. Bringing together leading scholars of Islamic politics, ethics, and law, this book examines the varied meanings and uses of Islamic law, so as to assess the prospects for democratic, plural, and gender-equitable Islamic ethics today. These essays show that, contrary to the claims of some radicals, Muslim understandings of Islamic law and ethics have always been varied and emerge, not from unchanging texts but from real and active engagement with Islamic traditions and everyday life. The ethical debates that rage in contemporary Muslim societies reveal much about the prospects for democratic societies and a pluralist Islamic ethics in the future. They also suggest that despite the tragic violence wrought in recent years by Boko Haram and the Islamic State in Iraq, we may yet see an age of ethical renewal across the Muslim world.
About the authors
Robert W. Hefner is Professor of Anthropology and Director of the Institute on Culture, Religion, and World Affairs at Boston University. He is editor of Shari'a Politics: Law and Society in the Modern Muslim World (IUP, 2011).